Thursday, November 5, 2015

Mary Norton Squared

 Oh Mary Norton... just read and savor: "Mrs. May was old, her joints were stiff, and she was-not strict exactly, but she had that inner certainty which does instead.  Kate was never "wild" with Mrs. May, nor untidy, nor self-willed; and Mrs. May taught her many things beside crochet: how to wind wool into an egg-shaped ball; how to run-and-fell and plan a darn; how to tidy a drawer and to lay, like a blessing, above the contents, a sheet of rustling tissue against the dust."  -The Borrowers
 Why read Mary Norton to your kids? Well, other than the fact that she uses words like 'hassock' which is a pouffe or tuffet (yes, you're already smiling) or that her characters carry trays of Bath Oliver biscuits and tall decanters of Fine Old Pale Madeira (which is reason suitable enough) but to truly seal the Mary Norton deal please find the series of books on the shelves called, The Borrowers, which, when furtively and wondrously attempting to instill an intrepid sense of adventure in your children, will come in handy.  Homily, Pod, and Little Arrietty rummaging shoe buttons and wax candles and child tea-services and living under a grandfather clock in the hall is all the inspiration a young explorer (even a deep-sea diver) needs.
Of course, one can back this up with another great Mary Norton book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Yes, Disney shouldn't take all the credit).  Just listen to this synopsis:  "During the Battle of Britain, Miss Eglantine Price, a cunning witch-in-training, decides to use her supernatural powers to defeat the Nazi menace.  She sets out to accomplish this task with the aide of three inventive children who have been evacuated from London during the Blitz."  Oh Mary Norton, I never look at a safety-pin again the same way.

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